Purtan’s Radiothon pledges over the top




By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioTwo weeks in a row for yours truly, what did you do to deserve this? Actually, March is a heavy month for radio conventions and gatherings. I am expected to be at the Country Radio Seminar, the MAB Great Lakes Broadcasting Expo and the R&R Talk Radio Seminar, and they all happen to fall in the windy month of March giving some of us a new meaning to the term ”March Madness.”

Personally, I can’t wait to see whether broadcasters are going to stand up before us, preaching about what great shape the business is in. If that happens, I suspect some sessions could resemble an episode of Jerry Springer.

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First a bit of good news. Even in this terrible economy, Dick Purtan and his hearty crew of very hard-working volunteers were able to receive cash, checks and pledges totaling an impressive $2,310,070! The live 16-hour broadcast from the Oakland Mall on Friday was a huge success, with impressive crowds throughout the entire day despite dreadful weather conditions. Kudos to all. Both Mike and I were pleased to see former promotion whiz Kassie Kretzschmar at the event and wonder if she might be reinstated at Oldies 104.3 WOMC-FM. Unlike the person who let her go, she was and is very popular at Purtan’s station.

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In other personnel news, the big buzz is the assignment of rock WRIF-FM (101.1) mainstay Doug Podell as new program director of sister station classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7). Those of us with vivid memories of Detroit radio may recall when that station was WHFI in a rustic A-frame on Rankin Road in Troy. Today, it’s a real powerhouse. This move was not unexpected, since many radio jobs are being doubled-up to save money in this scary economy.

Kevin Carter of trade publication “Radio & Records” said it best: “Now please enjoy this corporately acceptable Doug Podell quote that contains the names of several key Greater Media (station owner) playaz: ‘It’s an honor to now be associated with and represent not one, but two of the greatest rock stations in the country, WRIF and WCSX. I’d like to thank everyone at Greater Media, especially (CEO) Peter Smyth, (regional GM) Tom Bender and (VP Programming) Buzz Knight, for the opportunity and their confidence in me.’ ”

I just hope he doesn’t collapse from exhaustion.

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Do you think that former WWJ general manager Rich Homberg felt as though he was on a mainline railroad track and the light was getting brighter? Had he stayed at the all-news station would he have been another statistic? Perhaps. It was probably a factor in his jumping over to Public TV Channel 56. Good move. His replacement at the main building is Pete Kowalski, so expect some Kowalski Kawality from “The J.” New managerial duties for CBS Detroit go to the well-respected and liked Deb Kenyon.

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I spoke of this once before, but on every one of my radios — and I have a lot of them — news WWJ-AM (950) is noticeably louder than news-talk WJR-AM (760). Let me know if you agree. Interestingly, one of the many casualties under the Kevin Murphy administration was longtime WWJ engineer Ralph Hunt. This came also as CBS gets ready to move physical operations of WXYT from the 12 Mile at Greenfield building over to the facilities on American Drive in Southfield. Insiders say that a very nice studio is being constructed for new morning show hosts Jay Towers and Bill McAllister.

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Yesterday, Chad Mitchell of the morning show at country WDTW-FM (106.7) known as The Fox, attempted to break a record for the most people making “snow angels” simultaneously. Did they do it? Tune in tomorrow to find out. Mitchell was the longtime producer for Mojo in the Morning at all hits WKQI, known best as Channel 955.

 • • • • • • • • 

Recently, while in a restaurant with home improvement guru Murray Gula, he was recognized by another patron. Interestingly they thought he was still on WJR. Gula is about to celebrate a full year on sports WDFN-AM (1130) weekend mornings 8-10 a.m. There are people who think Glenn Haege is still on WXYT-AM (1270). He shifted from there to WDFN and now to WJR. It’s hard for listeners to follow the musical (or talking) chairs.

 • • • • • • • • 

Last week I told you about the Web site www.detroitradioflashbacks.net which is great for past memories of the Motown dial. Here’s another to check out from radio mavens Tony Clark and Art Van (not the furniture man): www.michiganoldiespodcast.com. There you can hear actual radio shows done in the old style with reverb and personality. These guys do a great job of recreating the old sound of top 40 hit radio.

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Enjoy the music of Tommy Dorsey on WMUZ-FM (103.5) or WRDT-AM (560) with Tom Wilson at 6 p.m. today.

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Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com. Contact him at artvuolo@aol.com.

Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, March 2, 2008







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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on March 2, 2008 10:15 AM.

Big Rapids gets Michigan's first FM translator of an AM station was the previous entry in this blog.

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